Hotel development has not been on hiatus, and a number of properties that opened in 2022 will be of interest to meeting planners. These new options will give planners and their audiences something to look forward to after several years of feeling hamstrung and homebound by the pandemic. Here’s a look at five new properties in smaller meeting destinations.
Greenville gets its Grand Bohemian
Fans of the Grand Bohemian in Asheville, North Carolina, will be happy to know its sister property has opened a few miles south, just over the state line in Greenville, South Carolina. Downtown Greenville, already blessed with dynamic hotels, has added another to the list with the opening of the Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. It’s on prime real estate next to the Reedy River, which cuts a tumbling, waterfall-interrupted pathway through town and is one of the finest linear parks around. The Grand Bohemian let nature inspire its design, from white antler chandeliers in its 1,872-square-foot ballroom to a massive cobblestone fireplace in its lobby. An open-air bourbon bar and restaurant overlook the river; an event lawn lets meetings easily move outdoors. The 187-room luxury hotel also has an art gallery, wine room, library and spa.
Elvis fans trek to Tupelo
Elvis enthusiasts will petition to take the next board meeting to Tupelo’s new and first-ever downtown boutique hotel, Hotel Tupelo. While it’s not all about Elvis, it does give nods to the native son. For example, door hangers read “Recording in Progress,” and its King’s Suite has plenty of Elvis photos and mementos. The 79 guest rooms have all the niceties and midcentury style modern furnishings, all the rage in Elvis’ heyday. Meeting spaces are small but feel spacious thanks to large windows and include a meeting room for 46, a private dining room for 25 and a balcony space overlooking city streets. Bikes are free and fun for self-guided Elvis tours. Local touches include guest room coffee mugs made by a local potter; Tupelo River Coffee on brew; a Blue Delta jeans booth; and samples from Queen’s Reward meadery, the state’s first meadery. Guests can convene in a roomy bar and lounge to play shuffleboard, chess, checkers and board games.
Two hotels become one in Knoxville
In 2019, a real estate firm bought an old Holiday Inn in downtown Knoxville and an adjacent hotel, the Tennessean. The result, opened early this year, is the Marriott Downtown Knoxville, a 302-room hotel that overlooks the site of the 1982 World’s Fair. The two buildings are linked by Maker Exchange, a 12,000-square-foot gathering place where guests can sit around a large fireplace and dine in a local restaurant, bar and coffee shop. Six hotel meeting rooms total 17,746 square feet of meeting space and include a 10,000-square-foot ballroom. One of the meeting spaces features garage-style doors that can be flung open to an adjacent, private part of the park. The hotel is easy to find — just look for the golden globe high above the city, one of the iconic structures that remain from the World’s Fair.
Montage is minutes from Yellowstone
The accurately named town of Big Sky has finally scored a luxury resort, the Montage Big Sky. Guests never forget how lucky they are to be staying there thanks to the omnipresent windows that reveal big skies and the Spanish Peaks mountain range. A mix of guest rooms, suites and residences total 139 rooms, and a number of meetings spaces cater to corporate events like a large boardroom, multiple executive rooms and a 5,080-square-foot divisible ballroom. If a 10,000-square-foot spa isn’t enough to fill free time, there is also ski-in/ski-out access to Big Sky Resort, nearby fly-fishing rivers, golf and private jeep tours of Yellowstone National Park, less than an hour away. With six dining options at the resort, there’s no need to go elsewhere. Drinks and appetizers come with glowing sunset views in the Alpenglow lobby bar; Beartooth bar blends craft beers with bowling, darts and arcade games.
New lodge for Ohio’s favorite park
Ohio’s favorite state park finally has a lodge with overnight guest rooms and meeting space. When Hocking Hills State Park Lodge and Conference Center opened in October, it was the first time the state had opened a new lodge in 30 years. This one seems way overdue, given that Hocking Hills is a hands-down favorite, chock full of trails, cliffs, caves, gorges and waterfalls. The new lodge has 81 guest rooms and suites, a full-service restaurant, a pub, indoor and outdoor pools, and for meetings, a 2,000-square-foot divisible ballroom and additional flexible small meeting spaces. The existing 40 two-bedroom cabins have also been renovated. Among the premier reception spots is the Grand Terrace, with its commanding views of the 2,356-acre park, which is located about an hour southeast of Columbus.